Advantages And Disadvantages Of Carbon Fibre Composites

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Coursework 1- Carbon Fibre composites compared to traditional metallic properties

Introduction
Carbon fibre is a material made up of thin strips of crystalline filaments of carbon woven together to create a cloth or combined with a resin or ceramics to strengthen the material. Carbon fibre is now overtaking traditional metals in where it is being used and the reasons why will be discussed further on in the report (Happian-Smith 2001: 1).
Carbon fibre composites have become the leading material in the automotive, aerospace and sporting equipment. This is due to its high strength, high young’s modulus and low density which makes it extremely lightweight for its properties. Carbon fibre composites with polymeric matrices have been designed to
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Carbon fibre reinforced plastics (CFRP) are very strong. It is the plastic in the CFRP that gives it its tensile strength and the carbon fibre that gives it its toughness. When compared to steel they are up to ten times as strong. CFRP has a tensile strength of around 7500MPa whereas a high carbon steel has a tensile strength of 650MPa (P.Groover 2011: 270). Tensile strength is how resistant a material is to breaking down under tension, this is important in a vehicle body as the body will always be under tension in regular motion and would not be safe if it was to fail under small stresses. Aluminium alloys have a tensile strength of 350MPa which is not as strong as high carbon steel or Carbon fibre reinforced polymers but is very high for a lightweight …show more content…
In steel, the presence of moisture and air, cause the Iron in steel to start oxidising and in turn forming Iron Oxide (Bayliss & Deacon 2002). This is not very effective for the intended use as vehicles are exposed to all types of weather conditions. On the other hand, the formation of an oxide on Aluminium is what allows it to be more weather resistant than steel. This is because the layer of oxidised aluminium on the surface of the main metal prevents further oxidisation. Even when the layer of thin aluminium oxide is damaged the oxide can repair itself spontaneously (aluminiumdesign.net 2014). Carbon fibre reinforced polymers are relatively inert so will not react with things like the air or moisture at low temperatures, however, prolonged exposure to high levels of UV light can cause it to start to degrade the carbon. It would take extreme heat to give the atoms enough energy to break the strong covalent

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